THE finals series may just be around the corner but Yenda coach Roy Romeo is already preparing his side for their biggest game of the season.
Third spot on the ladder and a valuable second chance in the finals will go down to the wire when Yenda travel to take on Tullibigeal-Lakes United on Sunday.
Courtesy of the Blueheelers’ come-from-behind win over Leeton last weekend Yenda sit one point clear of the Sharks in third place, with the loser set to battle with Bidgee Hurricanes in the elimination semi-final next weekend.
The comfort of guaranteeing a place in the second week of the finals series is something Romeo and TLU counterpart Brent Pike have placed on top of their priority lists.
“It is probably the biggest game of the year and our semi finals start a week early really,” Romeo said.
“The second chance is going to be very important to our chances in the competition as it is always good to have those two bites of the cherry.
“In saying that Lakes are the same position as well, so it is going to be a hard, tough game over there.”
Pike is hoping TLU can use their home ground to advantage after losing 36-14 to the Yenda earlier this season.
“Being at home is a plus for us and we should have all hands back on deck, so it will be an interesting match,” Pike said.
“I’ve been talking for the last couple of weeks on how important it is to get third spot for a second crack at the finals.
“It’s more of a game for us this week with that second chance up for grabs, which makes it a little bit easier. But if we have to do it the hard way, then we have to do it the hard way.”
Jaden Kelly, James Williams and Dean Hague are all expected to return for the Sharks adding plenty of experience to the their line-up.
“Now Aussie rules is over, all the boys are keen to knuckle in for the rest of the year,” Pike said.
“There is no more Saturday football, so instead of having five or six of us fresh on a Sunday, we will have a full squad fresh and ready to go.”
Yenda is set to shuffle its side after George Broome dislocated his kneecap in the dying moments last weekend.
“We had Damian Payne and Jarrod Williams out last week, so hopefully they will be right to go this week,” Romeo said.
“Hopefully (Broome) can get back towards the end of the finals, but we will have to re-focus and push forward without the young kid, which is shattering for him as he’s been playing some good football.”